The Lord of the Rings is not a story of war. At its core, it’s not even a story of orcs, elves or magicians but one of sacrifice and friendship. Knizia’s adaptation of the literary classic is the only game I’ve played that truly recognizes this fact. Through its mechanics, it reflects the difficult journey of the novel and how only cooperation could overcome such dire odds.
When I first started playing Brass Birmingham I always developed away my Level I Breweries. It’s such a solid move that it took me a while to realize it’s not actually that great. As I got better at the game, I started taking a different approach. By building those breweries, not only is it possible to secure more beer but also to obtain higher scores.
“Is it unethical to pay the media?” This is a fairly easy question to answer yet some game publishers seem to struggle with it. In his latest article, Jamey Stegmaier, designer and owner of the company behind Wingspan and Scythe wonders why paid reviews are so “widely looked down upon”. Never has collusion been promoted so boldly and I had to answer.
Reiner Knizia is not a designer known for his strong themes. Most of his designs feature only the flimsiest of justifications for their settings and are rightly regarded as abstracts. And yet, there’s a satirical side to him. In his 1995 classic High Society, we take the role of twenty century socialites willing to waste our riches in the pursuit of status, clout and appearances.
I believe Cosmic Encounter is one of the best games ever made. However, not everyone sees it that way. Many have approached the game only to have a terrible experience. Hence, I’ve decided to write a guide, not so much about strategy, but about how to have a great experience with it, from your first play.